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Home > The mental and physical health profile of people who died by suicide: findings from the Suicide Support and Information System.

Leahy, Daniel and Larkin, Celine and Leahy, Dorothy and McAuliffe, Carmel and Corcoran, Paul and Williamson, Eileen and Arensman, Ella (2020) The mental and physical health profile of people who died by suicide: findings from the Suicide Support and Information System. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology , 55 , (11) , pp. 1525-1533.

URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-0...

PURPOSE
There is limited research on the associations between factors relating to mental and physical health in people who died by suicide.

METHODS
Consecutive suicide cases were included in a psychological autopsy study as part of the Suicide Support and Information System in southern Ireland. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis were used to examine factors associated with recorded presence or absence of mental and physical health problems.

RESULTS
The total sample comprised 307 suicide cases, the majority being male (80.1%). Sixty-five percent had a history of self-harm and 34.6% of these cases had not been seen or treated following previous self-harm, although most (80.3%) had a history of recent GP attendance. Mental health diagnoses were present in 84.8% of cases where this variable was documented, and among these, 60.7% had a history of substance misuse and 30.6% had physical health problems. Variables associated with mental illness included gender, older age, previous self-harm episode(s), and presence of drugs in toxicology at time of death. Variables associated with physical illness included older age, death by means other than hanging, and previous self-harm episode(s).

CONCLUSIONS
Different factors associated with suicide were identified among people with mental and physical illness and those with and without a diagnosis, and need to be taken into account in suicide prevention. The identified factors highlight the importance of integrated care for dual-diagnosis presentations, restricting access to means, and early recognition and intervention for people with high-risk self-harm.


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